Association Membership Summit

24 August 2020



Mon 24 August 2020


How COVID-19 has affected Membership

The leadership role and feeling of community created by associations have come to the forefront during COVID-19. Associations have accepted their positions of responsibility and impressed members with their advocacy and information, and many members have held on to their association membership during the current turmoil. In this session, association leaders will share their observations of membership during the pandemic.

Hilary Shelton, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Council for Health, Physical Education & Recreation VIC

Peter Vymys, Chief Executive Officer, Migration Institute of Australia

Sally Loane, Chief Executive Officer, Financial Services Council



Membership is a large topic of discussion and is often more complex than initially thought. This session with David Friend, Managing Director at Shared Services Solutions is about their experiences with developing membership programs for clubs and other not-for-profit organisations.

David Friend, Managing Director, Shared Services Solutions


Meet and Greet


Member engagement for better retention

Member engagement is a vital part of the member cycle and ensuring you engage with members beyond when you are seeking event registrations or encouraging renewals is the key to any engagement strategy. More associations need to systematically reach out to members for connections and dialogue.

During this workshop, delegates will in groups discuss:

  • your own associations engagement strategy
  • methods of measuring and analysing engagement
  • creating member communities with specific interests
  • how engagement methods in your association have changed since the pandemic

Groups will be pre-assigned for discussion.

Facilitated by Associations Forum


Never waste a good crisis: How to pivot your NFP in the midst of a global pandemic

When a global pandemic rears its ugly head, it challenges anything and everything that is ‘the norm’. From your personal to your professional life everything changed, and every country, sometimes even individual states have dealt with it differently. Businesses that don’t accept the new norm and want to stay safe with traditional approaches will find their future tenuous and difficult to navigate. What has worked in the past, will not work in the future – not any more. It is time to challenge the norm, it is time to disrupt ourselves, to revolutionise our strategies, be adaptable, be flexible and set yourself up for success, long after the pandemic has been minimised. As said by Winston Churchill “never waste a good crisis”.

Dr Louise Schaper, Chief Executive Officer, Australasian Institute of Digital Health


Lunch Break


Value proposition for associations

Associations are constantly having to prove the worth of their membership to members and prospects, both during terms of rest and unrest. An associations value proposition is often a battle against apathy and competition in the sector. This session will address:

  • how to create a feeling of must-join or exclusivity for members
  • ways to workshop possible new services and products
  • using member surveys and analytics to understand the sectors needs

Paul Seitz, Marketing and Communications Manager, Direct Selling Australia

Kate Miranda, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Australian Dental Association NSW


Community by the Numbers

Membership executives the world over are creative and challenged in ways many other association staff are not. Often getting buy in to key member value initiatives requires number crunching. This session will review key numbers that have helped 20+ Associations in Australia and New Zealand in 2020.


Marketing and communications for boosting membership

Marketing can be defined as promotions to yet-to-join members and communications as informing the hopefully-converted. In large and small associations the marketing and communications is a part of the organisations strategy that every department; particularly those in membership, should be aware of. In this session Tony Gleeson, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Institute of Refrigeration Air Conditioning & Heating will demonstrate the strategy they have implemented, how it has changed due to the pandemic and the results they have gained from the process.

Tony Gleeson, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Institute of Refrigeration Air Conditioning & Heating


Significance of member recruitment

When discussing association membership numbers are important. Among other metrics, associations need to analyse their share of the potential market and their individual retention rates. From this information, associations can decide how much recruitment is needed and how to achieve it. This live panel on membership growth will consider:

  • understanding your target market
  • the importance of analysing penetration and growth targets
  • the respective role of organic growth, marketing and sales
  • resources to achieve recruitment, including people and technology


Australian Association COVID-19 Impact Research – Finding Opportunity in Crisis

When faced with the rapidly changing and escalating public health emergency of COVID-19 the Australian Association community answered their call to service and stood front and centre to support, protect and advocate for their members as this once in a generation crisis unfolded. 

Associations have never been so important.

Join Survey Matters as they present the key outcomes from their research of Australian associations about the impact of COVID-19, what needed to change, how associations’  coped, and where they found opportunities to provide more value during the crisis.


The lasting impact of COVID-19 on membership

This session looks at the long term impact of the crisis on membership. It will provide useful insights for strategy and planning for leaders and managers. It will cover:

  • how the approach to recruitment will change
  • how member engagement will develop and the new retention tactics that will be embedded
  • the key source of value for associations in the future
  • the lessons we can learn about what and how to communicate with members
  • how and where associations will emerge stronger than before

Sue Froggatt, Trainer, Consultant and Author, Sue Froggatt Training and Consulting – Streaming from the UK


End of Summit